Mutual Regard:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has agreed with all or part of 20 out of the 23 National Guard empowerment recommendations made by the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves in its March 1 report to Congress. Commission chairman Arnold Punaro praised Gates, saying his quick action “is a clear reflection of the Secretary’s decisive leadership and support for the needed reforms.” The three recommendations Gates did not agree with are: placing federal forces under direct control of a governor, making the National Guard Bureau a joint DOD activity, and directing that a reservist must serve as either the commander or deputy commander of US Northern Command. However, a May 16 release states that Gates has asked his staff to explore alternatives to address the concerns that prompted these recommendations. DOD has begun implementing some of the acceptable recommendations and plans to start legislative action for others. The March 1 CNGR report dealt primarily with a proposed Guard empowerment act; the commission is still engrossed in a more comprehensive look at the Guard and Reserve, working toward a final report in January 2008. Meanwhile, Gates is waiting for an assessment of the Guard organizational structure from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.